Poco C51 review: New entry-level contender

Poco C51 review: New entry-level contender

Poco has recently launched its entry-level smartphone called Poco C51 in the Indian market costing around Rs. 8,000. While you can find many smartphones in this range, there are few that really offer a good combination of features and performance. C51 competes with smartphones like Lava Yuva 2 Pro and Moto E13 in the market. Is the Poco C51 a good buy in this price range? Find out in this review.

Small C51 price in India

The Poco C51 launched in a single variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, priced at Rs. 7,999. It’s available in two color options, Power Black and Royal Blue, of which we have the latter for review.

Poco C51 design and software

As is often the case with entry-level smartphones, their designs tend to be very simple, and there’s generally not much to say about their build quality. However, this is not the case with the Poco C51. Personally, I think the smartphone has better design, grip and build quality compared to its rivals. It has a polycarbonate back panel with a grainy texture that I felt was comfortable to hold even for extended periods of time. It offers good grip and the weight is distributed in such a way that it doesn’t feel heavy in the hand, even though it weighs 192g.

A small camera module with negligible bulge is available on the back of the Poco C51, which includes a dual camera setup and an LED flash. The phone gets a waterdrop notch on the front. Being an entry-level smartphone, you get thick bezels around the screen. Volume and power buttons are placed on the right side of the frame. The phone is relatively large, so you might have to struggle a bit to reach the volume buttons when using it one-handed.

The fingerprint sensor is housed in a circular cutout on the rear panel and is easily accessible. The bottom of the Poco C51 has a Micro-USB port along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the top of the frame includes a single speaker that gets pretty loud. On the left side is the SIM slot, which supports two SIM cards, as well as a microSD card. Overall, the design of the Poco C51 is good for an entry-level smartphone.

Poco C51 ww review display

The Poco C51’s screen is decent, but not great

Coming to the display, the Poco C51 has a 6.52-inch LCD screen with a default refresh rate of 60 Hz and HD+ resolution. The screen isn’t very sharp, but the quality is still above average for its segment. Colors look a little dull and there is no option to adjust them. The maximum brightness is 400 nits, which might seem low on paper, but I had no trouble viewing content even in direct sunlight.

Poco C51 offers a clean software experience with Android 14 Go Edition. As of writing this review, I have received the March 2023 Android security patch update, but nothing newer yet. There are some preloaded apps that can be uninstalled. However, if you’re looking for advanced customization options, you won’t find them here. Overall, the interface is simple and basic, and in some ways better than the mid-range and premium Poco smartphones.

Poco C51 performance and battery life

The Poco C51 uses a MediaTek Helio G36 SoC and the phone runs Android 13 Go Edition, which is a lite version of Android 13. Unfortunately, the software experience isn’t as smooth as I’d like it to be, even with this lightweight version of Android. Even before loading any apps or data I found the phone to be very slow even with normal use. Apps in general took a long time to load and there was noticeable lag when multitasking.

Being an entry-level device, it’s not fair to expect much from the benchmark scores, but here are some numbers anyway. The Poco C51 achieved a score of 101,771 on AnTuTu, and on GFXbench it returned 5.7 fps and 29 fps in the Car Chase and T-Rex test suites, respectively. As far as gaming goes, the C51 can run Call of Duty: Mobile, but load times were very long and there was an occasional slight lag during gameplay, even on the lowest graphics settings. Simpler games like Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Shadow Fight 4, etc ran fine on the smartphone.

Poco C51 Bottom ww review

The Poco C51 has a Micro-USB port for charging

The Poco C51 has a 5,000mAh battery, which supports only 10W charging. The device can comfortably last for about two days with medium to light use (social media, instant messaging and calling, and a few hours of media streaming). In our HD video loop test, the C51 lasted 15 hours and 13 minutes, which is above average. However, with only 10W of charging, you will have to wait hours for it to fully recharge. I found that the phone only charged 21% in 30 minutes and completed a full charge in 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Poco C51 cameras

The Poco C51 gets a dual rear camera setup, which includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a VGA (0.3-megapixel) depth sensor. The main camera works by capturing average-looking photos in good light. Colors often look dull in some photos and some have been overexposed. HDR performance wasn’t consistent either. However, most of the photos were still usable for social media, without the need for extensive edits. The depth sensor doesn’t seem to do as much as it does in portrait mode, either images had negligible bokeh or the background was overexposed. The background blur also looked rather artificial.

Poco C51 daytime camera samples (tap for full size)

The camera’s main sensor struggled a lot in low light. Most of the photos were a bit blurry and lacking in detail. The selfie camera is 5 megapixels and captures decent daylight shots in both normal and portrait modes. However, edge detection is poor in the latter mode as it doesn’t accurately blur the background. The front camera also suffers a lot in low light. There was viewfinder lag when trying to frame subjects in low light, and images were quite noisy and lacked good detail.

Poco C51 camera samples in low light (tap for full size)

Video recording performance was also average. Whether in daylight, indoors or in low light, video recorded in all conditions was a bit blurry and lacking in detail. The rear and front cameras support recording up to 1080p at 30 fps. The phone also comes with timelapse and short video recording modes.

Poco C51: Should You Buy It?

If you’re looking for a budget phone with a long battery life, a bright screen and good build quality, consider the Poco C51. Keep in mind that performance is strictly average, and so are the cameras. If you need better cameras at this price point, the Moto E13 should offer better low-light image quality along with decent system performance. It also has a USB Type-C port as a bonus.

The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G was recently launched by the company in India alongside the more expensive Galaxy A54 5G smartphone. How does this phone compare to the Nothing Phone 1 and the iQoo Neo 7? We discuss this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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